Parks News

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Please note:  our programs may be subject to changes based on the latest Public Health Orders and to ensure safety of participants and RDCO staff. 

 

Additional Greenway Dike Maintenance

Additional dike vegetation maintenance work is scheduled next week along a portion of the Mission Creek Greenway.

Monday through Friday (November 30 – December 4) from approximately 8:00 am to 4:00 pm each day, crews will be falling, removing and pruning hazard trees and vegetation between the KLO Road and Lakeshore Road entrances to the recreational trail.

Greenway users can expect temporary closures while crews are working along this 4.2-kilometre section of the trail.  No other areas of the 16.5-kilometre Greenway corridor will be affected. 

While physically distancing, residents are encouraged to explore any of the 30 regional parks that protect over 2,100 hectares of land across the Central Okanagan.  For information visit: rdco.com/pickapark

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Greenway Vegetation Maintenance

Users of the Mission Creek Greenway should be aware of a closure this week.

Starting tomorrow (Wed. Nov. 25) from approximately 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and continuing through Friday, crews will be falling, removing and pruning hazard trees and vegetation between the Mayer Road entrance to the recreational trail upstream to the Kokanee bridge.

For everyone’s safety please stay out of this area while work is underway.  Other areas of the 16.5-kilometre Greenway recreational corridor will be open and unaffected. 

While physically distancing, residents are encouraged to explore any of the 30 regional parks that protect over 2,100 hectares of land across the Central Okanagan.  For information visit: rdco.com/pickapark.

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Snowshoe Hikes

Save spots now for your family (age 10 plus) for our Snowshoe Hike as we explore KLO Creek Regional Park. There are two opportunities to participate in this event.

  • Wednesday, December 9 - 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday, December 16 - 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm

This guided outing is along a trail rated easy. We provide the snowshoes for all participants. Depending on the conditions you may wish to use poles. All outings will go ahead in any weather condition, so please dress appropriately and be prepared for weather changes!

Pre-registration is required as there are a limited number of spaces available to ensure everyone is safe and physically distanced in order to follow health guidelines. Register at https://www.rdco.com/your-services/parks-services/events-and-programs.aspx - See Guided Hikes and select Snowshoe Hike in KLO Creek Regional Park.

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Family Winter Hike

Save spots now for your family for our Family Winter Hike as we explore Mill Creek Regional Park. This outing take place Sunday, December 6 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.

This guided outing is along a fairly flat trail. Depending on the conditions you may wish to use traction devices or poles. All outings will go ahead in any weather condition, so please dress appropriately and be prepared for weather changes!

Pre-registration is required as there are a limited number of spaces available to ensure everyone is safe and physically distanced in order to follow health guidelines. Register at https://www.rdco.com/your-services/parks-services/events-and-programs.aspx - See Guided Hikes and select Family Winter Hike in Mill Creek Regional Park.

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Green Christmas

Join us for a classic with a new twist! 

This year, Green Christmas heads outside. We'll lead you on a guided walk in the park to learn the names of familiar plants and after the walk we'll craft a wreath out of evergreen boughs. 
COST: $15 per person 

The Green Christmas event on Friday, November 27 is in Bertram Creek Regional Park while the Saturday, November 28 outing is in Shannon Lake Regional Park. Both run from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Two events run from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Thursday, December 3  in Kaloya Regional Park and Thursday, December 10 in Scenic Canyon Regional Park

Please pre-register as there is a limited number of participants for each date in order to keep everyone safe and physically distanced. No drop-ins allowed. All ages are welcome - children must be supervised with an adult.

Here's where you'll find a link to register - https://www.rdco.com/your-services/parks-services/events-and-programs.aspx - Select Nature programs and Green Christmas.

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Syilx Land Tour

Join us for a special tour of Black Mountain - sntsk’il’ntən Regional Park.   Learn about Indigenous values from Syilx knowledge keepers in this culturally significant location.

This guided interpretive program is rated moderate on Sun. Nov. 15 (12:30 - 3:30 pm), Tue. Nov. 17 (9:00 am - 12:00 pm) or Wed. Nov. 25 (12:30 - 3:30 pm). Registered participants will meet at the park entrance along Tower Ranch Drive and Tower Ranch Mountain Park.

Physical distancing for all participants will ensure everyone's safety. As well, there is a limited number of spaces available for each outing which must be reserved in advance - no drop-ins are allowed.

To register visit https://www.regionaldistrict.com/your-services/parks-services/events-and-programs.aspx

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Animals in winter

What are some of our favourite animals doing in the winter?   Some hibernate, while others forage for food in the snow.

Join this all ages guided nature walk to learn more about how animals prepare for winter and survive the colder months! 

The Saturday, November 7 outing will be in Kalamoir Regional Park, while the Saturday, November 28 guided event will be in Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park.  For times and more information please visit rdco.com/parkevents.

Please register to save your spot as spaces are limited to allow for safe physical distancing for all participants. No drop-ins.  Registration available at rdco.com/parkevents

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Bear Watch in RDCO Parks

Spawning Kokanee salmon.  Ripening fruit in orchards and vineyards.  These are a few seasonal attractants that bring bears down into the valley.

That’s also why you can expect more bears frequenting Central Okanagan Regional Parks, especially those connected to the higher elevations.

RDCO Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “This is the time of year that bears make their presence known and our field staff and visitors start seeing more signs that bears are around.  As sightings and evidence of their presence increase, we post signs in several of our parks advising that bears may be active in the area.”  View Safety Guide to Wildlife in Regional Parks

“If possible” he says “travel in a group and make some noise so any bears are aware of your presence.  As the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season ramps up visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source in local creeks and streams.  Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water.   If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”

Whenever possible avoid encounters with bears as they can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs. Bears also have excellent senses of smell and hearing and better sight than you might believe.  Unless otherwise designated, dog owners are reminded their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times in order to avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.

Residents also have a role to play by securely storing any garbage and only placing their garbage cart out on the morning of their regular curbside collection.  That helps to reduce the potential temptation for bears or other wildlife.

All Regional Parks remain open for visitors using safe distancing practices.  There are 63 kilometers of formal trails in 30 regional parks, many of which are naturally protected forested areas and may contain natural hazards.   Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information.  If you do visit our regional parks, please practice healthy hygiene and physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between you and other visitors.

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Canada-BC Grant helps build out access to regional park

Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park will become more accessible, thanks to a large infrastructure grant.

Under the Canada-BC Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the two senior governments will contribute almost $715,000 towards new features in the 640-hectare regional park.   The Park protects cultural assets as well as a unique Okanagan grassland habitat.

The federal government is contributing $390,000; the BC government $324,967, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan will provide $260,033 for a project that will build community inclusiveness, stewardship and connectivity within the regional park.

RDCO Chair Gail Given says “This is an exciting investment in our community and the largest of our 30 regional parks. The funds will help us realize one of the Regional Board’s Strategic Priorities to provide residents with greater opportunities to connect with nature in the Central Okanagan.”

Westbank First Nation Chief Chris Derickson says “lim ləmt, thank you, to both levels of government for investing in our culturally significant sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park, including, as part of the Regional Park Management Plan, improved access, safety, and information for its visitors. As stewards of the land, protecting areas of environmental and cultural significance is crucial to ensuring that these lands remain intact for future generations to visit, appreciate, and learn from.”

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation co-manage the protected 640-hectare regional park which is a significant cultural, historic and geographic namesake landmark.  It’s home to at least nine endangered or threatened species and ecological communities including grassland, open Ponderosa pine and grassland savanna. The park is vital to the syilx/Okanagan people for its wide variety of animals, plants and medicines along with resources for tool making found in the area. In nsyilxcín (in-SEALK-chin - Okanagan language), sntsk‘il’ntən (sins–te– KEEL–ten) translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”.

The funds will be used to build three, new multi-use trails including one leading to the summit of Black Mountain.  In addition, important park amenities will be constructed:

  • washrooms
  • parking areas at Joe Rich Road and Swainson Road
  • information and kiosk signage
  • guard rail fences

The work is anticipated to begin this fall and be completed by summer 2022.

It’s expected an official park opening will take place this fall and while work in the park is still underway, some of the park is open now. The current temporary access to Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park is through an off-street parking area on Tower Ranch Drive and the City of Kelowna Tower Ranch Mountain park.  The Swainson Road access is currently closed while the Black Mountain Irrigation District installs a new water main.  Residents are asked to stay on the trail so natural areas are not disturbed.

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Regional parks Goes Quietly Green

There’s a new vehicle travelling around Central Okanagan regional parks.  What makes this news is that it is the first electric vehicle in the parks fleet.  Nicknamed ‘Casper’ for its ghost-like quietness don’t be surprised if it suddenly appears while you’re out enjoying nature in our regional parks.  The quietness and no exhaust features of the electric vehicle supports one of the goals of our Regional Parks Mission Statement to protect the environment.  The vehicle’s size was an important reason for purchasing it.  Its 53 inch narrow width means the truck is able to cross all our bridge structures along the Mission Creek Greenway and as well as in many of our other regional parks.

 

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Discovery Backpacks

Grab a backpack filled with equipment to discover the secrets of Mission Creek Regional Park.

For a suggested $2 donation, sign out a Discovery Backpack at the EECO. Choose your adventure from the themes Pond Exploration, Forest Walk, Mini Beasts and Kokanee and explore the park!

Check it out at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The EECO is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Washouts Close Section of the Mission creek Greenway

At least two washout slides have forced the closure of a section of the Mission Creek Greenway.  

The Pinnacle Trail loop past the KLO Creek Bridge, the Black Bear Trail along Mission Creek and the upper Greenway Trail leading to the Hydraulic Creek trail-end are closed until further notice while staff assesses damage, stability and possible repairs that will be required.  View Map

For safety reasons, the Regional District of Central Okanagan urges Greenway users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs posted at the KLO Creek Bridge (downstream from Field Road entrance).

Regional Parks staff is continuing to monitor creek levels along the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor. With creeks expected to continue rising due to the recent weather and with spring runoff, people are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

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There's a Trail for Everyone!

The Regional District is making it easier for people to get out and enjoy trails through our Regional Parks.

Seven of the parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so that visitors can see a degree of difficulty on a particular trail.  There are also trail profiles provided giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of these designated trails.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs.   But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.  So a visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”

Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing.  Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.

Smith adds “Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signage in place.  The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system.  The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another.”

Trail ratings and profile information is available at information kiosks in these parks as well as for individual park webpages online www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark.  Smith says, “We’ve created some information pages to help explain our trail rating and profile system.  In addition, all our online park trail maps are GPS-enabled.  That means you can use your smartphone or tablet’s internal global positioning system to enhance your experience and navigate our parks and trails.”

Smith says “We’re also very excited about a unique relationship involving our Regional Parks staff and local First Nations.  Park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs.  We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.  We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.” 

For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.  With the excellent volunteers of CRIS - the Community Recreational Initiatives Society – the Regional Parks system is open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.

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Regional Parks Video

Our parks are great to visit at anytime of year.  Check out this new video that shows why!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)